From a public relations standpoint, what are actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin to do following their indictments of fraud to get their daughters into college? In a word, nothing.

There's not a thing these celebrities, including Loughlin's fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli who has also been charged in the bribery scandal, could or should be doing publicly right now. Their focus should be on keeping low profiles and meeting with their lawyers to prepare for their days in court.

They can't apologize -- not yet, anyhow -- because they are accused of crimes and have to be careful what they say ahead of court appearances.

They can't pay their way to improved reputations by making large donations to a university's minority scholarship program, the United Negro College Fund or Hispanic College Fund. It would look calculated and cheap; the public would see right through that.

These are federal crimes, not tone-deaf tweets; reputations rightfully have been shattered. There are some crises you don't come back from. Consequences have been swift. Hallmark Channel has dropped Loughlin, and reportedly Netflix will not include her in its fifth and final season of "Full House" reboot "Fuller House." Loughlin's younger daughter Olivia Jade lost her make-up sponsorship with Sephora.

Family lessons

Privately, these celebrity parents should be doing some things to ensure their children, who haven't been indicted, learn from their parents' alleged crimes. As a mom of two daughters -- a fourth grader and a sixth grader -- here's what I hope these families are talking about internally right now.

First, college is important. While these kids will be rich and privileged no matter what, higher education is what will make them more well-rounded individuals. Leaving university -- as Loughlin's daughters have done -- is not the answer. Hopefully they will go back eventually. Yes, it will be hard. Yes, they will be the subject of insults and barbs. But they will never know the pain of having to work two jobs to put themselves through school. A little hardship in the pursuit of education might do these kids some good.

Second, appearances matter. Not skin surface appearances that Olivia Jade addresses in her YouTube makeup tutorials. Rather, things like being on a yacht with a University of Southern California board of trustee member when this scandal became breaking news. In life, think of how you want to be portrayed. And remember you are who you show to the world. Now might be the time to reflect on who you are and who you want to be on a deeper level. Make the corresponding decisions, large and small, each and every day.

Third, watch what you say and remember the internet is forever. People can't get enough of this story. I can't tell you how many articles I've read or videos I've seen of these celebs saying really dumb stuff -- in retrospect. There's Loughlin poking fun at how much she paid for college. There's daughter Olivia Jade saying she doesn't know how much she'll take part in college, outside of the parties and that her dad faked his way through college. It's OK to stay off social media and out of the spotlight for a long time. 

And then there was Huffman's actor husband William H. Macy in a "Men's Journal" interview in February talking about the best advice he'ds ever received. It's prescient -- and the best lesson of all.

"Never lie. It's the cheapest way to go. Lies cost you a lot, and they're never worth what they cost."

Published on: Mar 20, 2019
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